Nov 9, 2009

Sixteen projects get funding approval from Latino Public Broadcasting

Latino Public Broadcasting today announced the 16 projects chosen for funding in its 11th annual Open Call. A statement by the group notes that more than half of these programs have never been funded by Latino Public Broadcasting before, "a direct result of an extensive outreach program for independent filmmakers throughout the nation." Check out all the winning projects here.

Caroll Spinney ponders his alter ego

Caroll Spinney, who has played Big Bird since Sesame Street's inception, is captured in a rare photograph in the New Yorker, wearing just the legs of his famous yellow costume. Back in 1970, after Look magazine carried a photo of Spinney sticking his face out between the body and head, Muppets creator Jim Henson told him, “Don’t let that ever happen again. You’re either bird or you, but no in between.” As for his future as Big Bird: "I’ve done 40 years and, unless I have a bad surprise, my ultimate goal would be to play this 6-year-old bird for 50 years. Whether that’s possible, only Lord knows."

Thousands get one last "Neighborhood" visit

Around 5,000 fans of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood lined up out the door and down the street from WQED in Pittsburgh to take one last look at pieces of its famous set, which are bound for storage, according to the Pittsburgh Nonpartisan Examiner. Mr. McFeely, still played by Dave Newell (now spokesperson for Rogers' production company Family Communications Inc.), spent 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday posing for photos with visitors and sharing their memories in the station's Studio A, which was officially renamed Fred Rogers Studio. Fans got an up-close look at King Friday XIII's castle, X the Owl's tree and other pieces. A Pittsburgh Post-Gazette video captures the excitement. WQED rep Rosemary Martinelli said visitors came from as far away as Alaska and Korea. One special moment: Rogers' son John brought his son, Ian, born 12 days after Rogers' death in 2003. The long line was temporarily halted as the two explored the set alone. At that point, one woman told Martinelli she'd wait as long as it took and was honored to witness that touching scene.

Muppets starring in Google logo

In case you've missed it, since Nov. 4 Google has been honoring the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street with appearances by several of the show's favorite characters on its logo (a.k.a. Google Doodles). Download high-res images here.

Welcome, KXT

A new pubradio station hit the airwaves at 7 a.m. today, according to the Dallas Morning News. KXT will play "an eclectic mix of indie rock, alt country and other styles," according to parent station KERA in Dallas. It's at 97.1 FM. KERA's Arts & Seek blog has a photo of Mary Anne Alhadeff, KERA’s c.e.o., speaking the first words on the new station. The deal for the channel may be the biggest station purchase this year (Current, June 22, 2009), with KERA spending $18 million for a reserved noncommercial channel owned by religious broadcaster Covenant Educational Media.

You say Pox, they say Fox

Sesame Workshop has responded to the recent "tempest in a trash can" over the Sesame Street "Pox News" parody sketch, in today's PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler's column. In the bit, when Oscar talks about the Grouchy News Network, another character responds it wasn't grouchy enough and threatens to switch to Pox News--"now there's a trashy news show." Some viewers (and bloggers) were upset over what they perceived to be a slap at Fox News. But an explanation from Miranda Barry, Sesame Workshop creative e.v.p., said the bit was an "equal-opportunity parody--Oscar always tries to offend everybody!" She said the Grouch News Network (GNN) was actually a reference to CNN. One viewer responds: "The debate over the Sesame Street Pox News skit is ridiculous. A sense of humor goes a long way for both adults and children--and these bloggers seem to have lost theirs."